As a little child, I remember the eagerness for Christmas morning, and the overwhelming joy at the thought of Santa Claus leaving presents under the tree. Unfortunately, growing up brought a profound sadness when I learned Santa was not real. Nevertheless, I am finding my deep and meaningful relationship with the God of Creation brings so much more than Santa Claus ever could. And so, each year, I long for more of what Christmas truly means for a “redeemed” believer in Jesus, not the Claus!
I recently shopped for items my church is collecting for the people of Ukraine. I proceeded to the cashier desiring to inspect my finds and learn the prices. The young man was helpful yet never cracked a smile nor did he seem to possess a spirit of the season. As he finished with the transaction. I quickly wished him a “Merry Christmas,” to which he responded, “Happy Holidays!” I replied, “thank you!” and walked out of the store with a heavy sadness.
Seeing Jesus should breed thoughts of an overpoweringly joyous engagement! (Even more than Santa Claus coming to town). We should be giddy with excitement – with an overwhelming expectancy! I wished to have passed that on to the clerk in the store!
Simeon and Anna (Luke 2: 21-38) stand in history as the best role models of expectancy. When Jesus was just eight days old, he was presented at the Temple in Jerusalem (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every first-born male that opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord,” verse 23). Here Mary and Joseph encounter Simeon who has been waiting for this day! He had been told by the Holy Spirit he would not die until he saw the Promised One: The Messiah! Obviously, Simeon knew nothing else in life compared to meeting the Messiah – citing his announcement that the Lord could now take him home (2:29). And Anna never left the Temple! Was it so she would not miss this event? The God-Man born to die!
The significance of Christmas is celebrating a humble servant born to die that we might live. Our world is preoccupied with control! Our lights are the brightest when we show others a radical stance of what has already begun – the return of our Savior King. Let us keep the flame alive … Right now! This day! every day by allowing the Spirit of God to lead and refine and cause us to understand more and more the specialness of what is to come by keeping it on our hearts with an overwhelming expectancy!